Tour Operators & travel Agents are different in Malaysia! And the public have had the wrong perception for long time. In Malaysia, Tour Operators and Travel Agents are different and play different roles. In a factory scenario, a Tour Operator is like the production department and the Travel Agent is like the Sales Department…
A Tour Operator is the organizer and provider of package holidays. It is often referred as the Ground Handler. The Tour Company will make contracts with hotels and resorts, airlines and ground transport companies like private cars, buses, vans, ferries and trains & etc. With all the necessary pricing and information compiled, the Tour Operator will draft detailed tour packages and distribute to Travel Agents in Travel Agent Directory in Malaysia and even overseas.
The roles & responsibilities of a Tour Operator are booking and arranging:
– Transportation: Chaffered Car, Chartered Bus & Van, Air Ticket, Train Ticket, Ferry Ticket, Cruise Ticket, other transit modes and even special vehicles like trishaw.
– Tour Guide: All Tour Guides must be licensed by the Ministry of Tourism Malaysia after attending and examined in a professional Tourist Guide Courses.
– Sight Seeing: Entrance for tourist destinations, eco-tour, adventures tour, jungle trekking, snorkeling & scuba diving, island hopping and even handicraft or cultural & living experiences.
– Food & Beverage: Breakfast, Tea Time or Tea Break, Lunch & Dinner, whether by set, buffet or packed food.
– Accommodation: Hotels, Resorts, Service Apartments, Camping Sites, Dormitories, Training Camps, Chalets, Tree Houses or traditional houses & habitats that accommodating travelers.
– Activities: Tele-match, treasure hunt, paint ball, team building, outside office meeting…
– Special Events: Company dinner, karaoke contest.
On the other hand, Travel Agents do not operate tours. Travel agencies gives traveling advices to travelers, promote and sell the tour packages that they have from various Tour Operators, then administer the tour bookings. Travel Agents usually are set up in prime locations with heavy traffic such as beside the main roads, inside crowed shopping malls or at the ground floor of a landmark building.
The roles & responsibilities of a Travel Agent are:
– Selling ells travel related products and services, particularly package tours to end-user customers on behalf of third party travel suppliers, such as airlines, hotels, tour operator and tour companies, and cruise lines & etc.
– Most travel agents have a special department devoted to travel arrangements for business travelers, while some agencies specialize in commercial and business travelers.
– Some also serve as general service agents for foreign travel companies in different countries.
– Act as an agent for tour packages:
– Buy tour packages or tour services at discounts & sell with profits.
– Get commissions from suppliers & other tour companies.
– Act as a ticketing agent for transportation (e.g. airlines, ferry, bus, train & etc).
– Other commercial operations are undertaken: insurance, travel guides, car rental, Bureau de change, private tour guide & etc.
– Offer impartial travel advice to the customer.
Next time, if you traveling in small group less than 10 travelers, it is advisable to engage a Travel Agent. Do not try to find the best travel agent in Malaysia. There is no such myth! Just go with the travel agent that suit your traveling needs and budgets or the tour agent that you trusted the most. However, if you are organizing a group tour like company tour, a Tour Operator will be able to provide you a more suitable tailor-made service.